3D printed elastomeric lattices with embedded deformation sensing

Carolyn Carradero Santiago*, Christiaan Randall-Posey, Andrei Alexandru Popa, Lars Duggen, Brian Vuksanovich, Pedro Cortes, Eric MacDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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New durable elastomeric materials are commercially available for 3D printing, enabling a new class of consumer wearable applications. The mechanical response of soft 3D printed lattices can now be tailored for improved safety and comfort by (a) leveraging functional grading and (b) customizing the outer envelope to conform specifically to the anatomy of the subject (e.g. patient, athlete, or consumer). Furthermore, electronics can be unobtrusively integrated into these 3D printed structures to provide feedback relating to athletic performance or physical activity. A proposed sensor system was developed that weaves unjacketed wires at two distinct layers in a lattice to form a complex capacitor; the capacitance increases as the lattice is compressed and can detect lattice deformation. A structure was fabricated and demonstrated with both static compression as well as low-velocity impact to highlight the utility for wearable applications. This work is focused on improving the performance of American football helmets as highlighted by the National Football League (NFL) Helmet Challenge Symposium; however, the lattice sensing concept can be extended to metal and ceramic lattices as well-relevant to the automotive and aerospace industries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8998189
JournalIEEE Access
Pages (from-to)41394-41402
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jan 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • elastomers
  • embedded sensing
  • Internet of Things
  • lattices


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